IN a bid to combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the region, the Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) signed a memorandum of understanding with the World Health Organization in Suva yesterday.
ONOC president Doctor Robin Mitchell said they were pleased with this new partnership and would start working with their member countries to fight the diseases.
He said the committee had an obligation to advocate on issues that affected the community they were part of.
"Apart from our role in sports as according to our charter, we basically try to promote any activity within the community that benefits the community and to support governance in any of the work they are proposing to do," Dr Mitchell said.
Dr Mitchell said they worked on four-year cycle. He said previously they were running the STOP HIV program where elite athletes were trained to advocate on issues relating to the deadly disease.
"We have seen with the STOP HIV program everybody was territorial in their own area perhaps not the co-ordination that we expected and the program didn't spread as much as we anticipated."
WHO director of Pacific support Dr Liu Yunguo said they were excited with this new partnership.
"NCDs have been declared a crisis in the Pacific and needs multi sector approach to resolve it. We need to engage with other sectors and organisations like ONOC to address this critical issue."